Life-Study of Genesis, by Witness Lee

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The Apostle Paul was truly a Hiram. I do not know who Paul’s mother was, but, spiritually speaking, I am certain that she was a "daughter of Dan," a daughter of the tribe of the serpent. Undoubtedly, in principle, Paul’s father was a "Tyrian." Paul was brought up "at the feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3), a doctor of the law. At that time, law was the highest science among the Jews, and whoever became a doctor of law was considered to be most outstanding. Gamaliel taught Paul everything regarding the religion of their forefathers. Paul’s studying under Gamaliel was equivalent to studying in a seminary today. Although a seminary does not teach a trade and thus is different from a technical college, the principle of both a seminary and a technical college is the same in teaching knowledge.

Consider also the example of Moses. Moses was born of a Jewish mother, but he was brought up in the royal family in Egypt. Acts 7:22 says, "Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in his words and deeds." He was a scholar in Egypt. Paul was a scholar of religious knowledge, and Moses was a scholar of secular knowledge. However, again the principle was the same. Eventually, both Moses and Paul became pillar builders. In 1 Corinthians 3:10 Paul said that he was "a wise masterbuilder." Both Moses and Paul had a "Danite" mother and a "Tyrian" father. The royal Egyptian family was Moses’ "Tyrian" father, for it was there that he learned all the wisdom of Egypt. This was the source of his Egyptian skill. The teaching of Gamaliel was the source of Paul’s knowledge. In this way, Gamaliel became Paul’s "Tyrian" father.

Now we must see a crucial point: All the "Tyrian" fathers must die. Hiram learned his trade from his Tyrian father, but eventually this Tyrian father died. As far as Moses was concerned, the royal family of Egypt died and was cut off. After Moses had learned everything of the Egyptians, that Egyptian source was terminated. Likewise, after Paul had learned everything from Gamaliel, the source of Gamaliel was cut off. In like manner, we all must be sons of a widow. Our father must die, but our mother may remain as a widow. Our Egyptian father or our Gamaliel must die, leaving us as the sons of a widowed mother. This means that the source of our secular or religious skill must die, but that the source of our human being must still exist. Today, we all must have a deceased father and a widowed mother.

In Moses’ time, no one could have understood God’s plan for the tabernacle like he could, because no one else had gained all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Moses acquired the wisdom of the Egyptians before he was forty years of age. After gaining it, he thought that he was qualified to deliver his people out of the hands of the Egyptians (Acts 7:23-25), but he failed in this endeavor. After Moses fled from Egypt, he lived in the wilderness for forty years. By the time he was eighty years of age, he considered himself to be a dead man. In his Psalm, Psalm 90, Moses said that people may expect to live to be seventy, and that the stronger ones may live to be eighty (v. 10). When Moses was eighty years old, he might have said to himself, "I am finished. What can I do? Forty years ago I could have done something, but I cannot do anything today. I am not yet dead, but I am dying." As Moses was dying there in the wilderness, he one day saw the burning bush (Exo. 3:2). Although the bush was burning, it was not consumed. In the vision of the burning bush God seemed to be telling Moses, "Moses, I will make you burning, but I will not burn you. I don’t need you to be the fuel. When you were forty years of age, you had a great deal of fuel, but now you are old, dried up, and have no more fuel. I have come to make you burning." At the time of this vision, Moses’ "Tyrian" father had finally died. Later, as Moses led the children of Israel in the wilderness, what he had learned in the royal palace became useful. Because no one else had all the wisdom of the Egyptians, no one else could have done the work he did in the wilderness.

The principle is the same with a brother who has gained a great deal of Bible knowledge in the past. This knowledge of the Bible is his "Tyrian" father. But this "Tyrian" father must die. The source of his Bible knowledge must be terminated. Then whatever he has learned in the past will become useful in resurrection, and he will be able to deliver a word as few others are able to do. Just as the wisdom of the Egyptians became useful in the resurrected Moses, so whatever we learn in college, seminary, or Bible school will become useful in resurrection. However, if our "Tyrian" father still lives and we remain in the natural life, the "Tyrian" skill will be of no avail to the building up of God’s temple.

I encourage all the young people to get a college degree. Do not make spirituality an excuse for not studying. Rather, study more diligently than the secular students, get the highest grades, and go on for advanced degrees. Do not stop with one Ph.D., but get two or three Ph.D.’s. Also learn to speak a number of other languages. Gain the "Tyrian" skills and the "Egyptian" knowledge. Become a doctor in biology, medicine, or nuclear physics. But then let the "Tyrian" father die. I have told you how I encouraged my grandson to study medicine. Now I will tell you what is truly on my heart. After he finishes medical school, I will say, "Forget about being a doctor and use your medical training to interpret the Bible." His medical training will make him very useful. Young people, gain all the up-to-date knowledge, graduate from college, and then say goodbye to your "Tyrian" father. Graduate from seminary and then say, "Seminary, thank you and goodbye. I have nothing more to do with you, but I will use the skill I have gained from you."

(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 85, by Witness Lee)